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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

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75 Common Committee and Board Laments
Robert E. Harris, CAE

March, 2010

This list was compiled from the executives who shared their ideas via listserv. One person commented, "It sounds like we all work for the same board of directors." Use it for a moment of levity, add to it, consider how to overcome the statements, share it with staff and leadership.

  1. I lost my board packet. (My dog ate it.)
  2. Sure, I'll vote for whatever I just said - have staff write the motion.
  3. "I call the question" --- "What do you mean, I already asked my questions?"
  4. We passed the motion, but I wasn't really in favor of it so don't count on me for any support.
  5. After lunch I'll re-adjourn the meeting to cover the rest of agenda.
  6. If I had known you weren't paying for travel I would never have joined the board.
  7. OK, I don't agree but I'll second it just to get it on the table.
  8. Once again, we didn't get enough directors here to conduct any association business.
  9. But the members might perceive…
  10. The past presidents won't go along with us.
  11. We are NOT supposed to act like a for-profit.
  12. I'll vote for it but I want staff to contact our accountants and our attorneys and have a report back to me before they take any official action.
  13. Hey guys, I can't stay on the conference call, I'm on the road and you keep fading in and oouutttt….
  14. Let's just table this item again until our spring meeting.
  15. Look, its our last board meeting - I move we adjourn, enjoy the conference, and pass on these issues to the new board.
  16. No one told me I was supposed to read these reports.
  17. I would like to attend the board orientation meeting but I just don't have time, I'll try to catch up later on or staff can brief me.
  18. I'm really late today because staff didn't include a clear map to the facility.
  19. Report? What report?
  20. You never told us that!
  21. We never did it that way before.
  22. Let's form another committee and give them the task of solving and reporting back to us.
  23. This is just too hot to handle.
  24. I don't care what the member survey says!
  25. That's too risky for a non-profit to delve into; we should be more conservative, slow things down.
  26. I don't have time to deal with the details.
  27. Staff was supposed to get me the information and type my report.
  28. I think I left the agenda and proposed budget in the seatback pocket on the airplane.
  29. Was I supposed to do something?
  30. Staff didn't write it for me; or didn't get it to the rest of you when I asked them to do it last night.
  31. We're just volunteers - what's the big deal?
  32. I'm swamped at work this quarter so I don't think I'll be any value to the board for awhile.
  33. I haven't even opened my mail I'm so busy, but I'll try to before the next meeting.
  34. We need more data before we can make any decisions.
  35. Staff should perform a study.
  36. The executive director should present that data at the next meeting.
  37. Give it to staff, they can fix it.
  38. Give it to staff, they can do it.
  39. This is just too divisive.
  40. I'm telling you, the members won't go for it!
  41. According to national….we shouldn't……
  42. Our chapters won't like this.
  43. We can't be committing next year's board to this year's work.
  44. It hasn't even gone to committee yet!
  45. The finance committee needs to look at it carefully before we discuss it.
  46. I just got this 10 days ago and haven't had time to talk to the members in my area.
  47. Nobody volunteered to help me.
  48. I couldn't find anybody else to serve on my committee.
  49. I didn't think anyone was really interested in doing it.
  50. I was waiting for information from staff before I got started on my work.
  51. What will everyone think?
  52. We can't do that - can we?
  53. I move to table…
  54. I move to table…
  55. I move to table…
  56. I've got a plane to catch, can we jump to the end of the agenda?
  57. But I've been on the road with no way to join the conference call.
  58. I have my own business to run.
  59. My committee members never got back to me.
  60. I don't think you sent it to me.
  61. Her ideas are "old school."
  62. He's a good person; he means well.
  63. Every board is going to have someone like him/her.
  64. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
  65. You know we didn't budget for that!
  66. We didn't understand what you wanted, so we didn't do anything.
  67. We tried that in 1974 - it didn't work back then so why try again?
  68. Hey, don't rock the boat!
  69. Not during my Presidency!
  70. Our members' bosses won't like that.
  71. That will never sell.
  72. Just do it….
  73. But, I was out of the room when you talked about antitrust violations.
  74. Can you fit all the financial information on one page; it is difficult for me to have to flip the pages?
  75. Things are moving a bit too fast for my personal preference.
  76. We can't be held to performance standards and goals because we have to rely on volunteers.
  77. We don't need insurance; we come under the volunteer immunity act.
  78. We already have a newsletter, not all the members have a computer, and I prefer that we mail things out instead of using e-mail and faxes.
Bob Harris, CAE, speaks on association operations and efficiency and is the creator of The Association Self-Auditing Process®. Contact him at or 850/570-6000. Many of the documents identified herein are available free at his site:


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